Getting around Athens

Public transport

The Athens Urban Transport Organisation (tel: 185; www.oasa.gr) operates the city's buses, trolleybuses, trams and metro/electric train service.

Public transport is cheap and extensive but often overcrowded. Tickets are sold at bus terminals and some street kiosks (periptera) and must be validated in orange machines located on board buses or in the metro station. Monthly passes for the entire urban network are available.

Blue-and-white buses run daily, with a limited night service on major routes. The most visited parts of the city are also served by several yellow trolleybus routes.

The electric train/metro Line 1 runs north-south between the suburb of Kifissia and the Piraeus Port (passing through Monastiraki). Line 2 runs from Agios Antonios to Agios Dimitrios, (passing through Syntagma) while Line 3 runs from Egali (passing through Monastiraki and Syntagma) all the way to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.

Three tram lines link the city centre and the coast: Syntagma-Neo Faliro, Syntagma-Glyfada and Neo Faliro-Glyfada.

Taxis

Official yellow taxis with red-on-white number plates can be hailed on the street. Companies operating radio cabs in Athens, include Athina 1 (tel: 21092 12800) Hellas (tel: 21064 57000) and Ikaros (tel: 21051 52800).

When taxis are in heavy demand, it is not unusual to share the ride (but not the fare) with other passengers. Taxis are still cheap by European standards. Tipping is not customary.

Driving

To improve Athens's traffic and pollution problem, from Monday to Friday cars with registration plates ending in an odd number are allowed in the centre only on odd-numbered days, while those ending in even numbers are permitted only on even-numbered days. Foreign cars are exempt from this scheme.

Parking in central Athens is severely restricted. Luxury hotels have their own parking spaces. Alternatively, try the central but very crowded car park at Kathmonos Square. In fact, a car is more of a problem than an asset in Athens, although visitors may wish to rent one for a trip out of the city.

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